A very special Land Rover Defender will be part of the funeral for Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth's husband, Philip died on April 9 at age 99. The funeral, which will be broadcast live, will take place this Saturday at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. As planned, it will be a ceremonial royal funeral, rather than a state funeral, with most of the details in keeping with Prince Philip's personal wishes, among which was that he be carried in a specially-converted Land Rover that he helped design.
This is the modified Defender TD5 130 "gun bus" chassis cab that was selected by Philip back in 2003, when he began getting his affairs in order. "Gun bus" in this instance is merely a dry Britishism for "the truck we take hunting." Don't tell your cousin with the ratted-out T100.
For somebody who reportedly told his family, "Just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor," 18 years is quite a long time to be contemplating one's own burial. The truck was modified at Land Rover's factory in Solihull (reportedly with help from customization outfit Foleys) and the modifications for funeral duty were overseen by Philip himself, Sky News reports. The military green paint, flat rear deck and custom stops put there specifically to hold his coffin in place were all Philip's doing.
Philip was a bit of a car nut, choosing to drive himself when he could. It was a 2019 rollover crash in one of his personal Land Rovers that effectively put an end to the then-97-year-old's days of self-chauffeuring. He was a longtime fan of Britain's iconic 4x4 builder, and it appears the feelings were mutual.
"At Jaguar Land Rover, we are deeply saddened by the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the company said in a statement posted to its web site this week. "Our thoughts and condolences are with Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family at this time. His Royal Highness devoted his life to public service and made a significant contribution to British manufacturing, engineering and design."
This article contains reporting by Reuters.